Ask The Experts: Question for Tom Lehmann

I want to use frozen dough balls for a take-n-bake pizza operation; using a dough press to press them onto an ovenable tray. What’s the best way to handle the frozen dough ball? Should I thaw them in the fridge or at room temp? How long should they thaw? If thawed in the fridge should it be allowed to set at room temp for awhile before being pressed? Should I use a proffing cabinet? Should I allow them to rise for awhile after pressing or can they be topped and sent home with the customer right after they come out of the press? Should I find dough balls specifically for take-n-bake or will a regular dough ball be ok?
Any other feedback you have would be welcomed. I have already learned a tremendous amount from your other posts but I’ve never seen anything dealing with take-n-bake using frozen dough balls.

Good question!

To use frozen dough in making T&B pizza, slack-out (thaw) the dough balls in the cooler overnight, then allow them to set at room temperature just until they can be pressed out without excessive snap-back (you will need to experiment a little as all doughs are different). As soon as the dough ball is pressed out, place it on a screen and place it on a wire rack in the cooler to chill for 30 to 45-minutes, then stack, up to 5-high on another screen with a piece of parchment paper dividing the individual dough skins. Keep the chilled dough skins in your reach in under the prep-table. To fill an oredr, remove a dough skin, and place it onto a lightly oiled ovenable tray. Brush the surface of the dough skin with a little olive oil and dress in the normal manner, send out in a container along with directions for storage and baking. Don’t forget to put a “best if used by” date on the container. The only problem to using a frozen dough to make T&B pizza is the fact that it probably won’t have enough sugar in it to provide good browning in a home oven. Typical T&B pizza dough will contain 3 to 5% sugar, based on the total flour weight. Give it a try though to see how you like it.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor